San Luis Obispo City Council suspends natural gas ban

April 20, 2023

SLO City Attorney Christine Dietrick


The San Luis Obispo City Council voted unanimously on Tuesday to suspend its natural gas ban for new construction after three federal appellate court judges ruled an identical ban in Berkeley is not legal.

After voting to ban gas appliances in 2019, worried about legal issues the SLO City Council dropped the ban. In 2020, the council voted to provide incentives for developers who built all-electric structures, but only about half chose the incentives.

Then in 2022, the council decided to copy Berkeley and ban natural gas lines to new construction, effective Jan. 1, 2023.

During Tuesday’s meeting, SLO City Attorney Christine Dietrick  said she was disappointed in the judges’ ruling

“Obviously a really disheartening and unfortunate decision for the city at the end of a long implementation period and a really successful implementation and stride towards our climate reduction goals,” Dietrick said. She then suggested Berkeley could request a stay or ask for a review by the full 11 judge panel.

The council directed Dietrick to find out how Berkeley plans to move forward, before voting to suspend the natural gas ban.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Can I get my tax money back from the incentives that should never have been offered?

Do you know smoking is bad? So is NG,LP; inhaling any amount is carcinogenic and leads to every cancer known the man. It also stays in the atmosphere for much longer than CO2 aiding in increased global temps and the inability for earth to return uv out to space.

California currently has 20 biomass, and 75 fossil fuel power plants producing 34,173 peak MW (all generating NOX emissions in the process) totally. We have a total of 94 active “renewable” energy generating stations (thermal, wind, solar, hydroelectric, and geothermal) producing a peak total of 27,685 MW. We have one nuclear plant producing 2,256 peak MW. California currently has only 4 new power plants under construction which will deliver a peak 2,624 MW.

SO SOMEBODY PLEASE TELL ME how are we going to replace the 34.000+ MW currently produced by burning materials that produce NOX, and produce the additional power necessary to replace all of our vehicles and all of our household appliances with electric???? Buying fossil fuel produced power from other states is not an option if you are really serious about this whole zero carbon footprint bullsh*t.

Just to replace fossil fuel plants alone you’d need to build about 10 more Diablo Canyons. You cannot smoke enough legal marijuana to make these numbers work by 2030.

We have been going foreword for years, but feel free to wave your hands and imply it’s impossible and will never work if that what you are into.

Driven by solar, California’s net demand hit zero on Sunday. The CAISO region’s spring solar record setting season is upon as, with solar peaking at greater than 95% of the state’s demand.

That was 95% of demand met by “renewables,” not just solar. Renewables includes biomass, which is not clean energy. Biomass burns about as “clean” as natural gas. Renewables also includes hydroelectric, which is doing incredibly well right now because most of the reservoirs are full and spilling. All on a sunny midday Sunday when everyone is outside, and few offices or industries are open. Now, where is the additional 100% going to come from (during a cloudy winter weekday) when we double our energy consumption in the next 7 years? Our total renewables capacity has been developed over 30 years, our total current solar capacity has taken 9 years to develop. Now we propose doubling our consumption in just 7 years. Right this minute we only have 2,250 MW of new sources under construction. That will replace Diablo Canyon when it closes in 5 years. But feel free to wave your hands and imply that it was all about solar if that’s what you’re into. Source citing demand was met with renewables, not just solar:

The left do what I say not what I do always uses the back door to get what !! THEY !! want no matter what the people want. They new they probably couldn’t get the gas ban to stick so they went the other way to ban the piping to use the gas same thing accomplished. Newsom has done similiar things on gun issue by making new rules on buying ammunition and banning the sale of it to calif from other states. If it looks like a weasel it is one

Natural Gas provides 50% of power to California power grids. 65% of our power comes from non-renewable. So its ok to use natural gas to power your home but not your stove? I call BS until our power grid gets rid of natural gas first.

Not too hard to understand. Power plants have filters and reburn unused energy. Your stove emits soot. There is a difference.

WRONG!! My old college roommate is an electrical engineer for Bechtel, and he has worked as a contractor at both the Colusa Generating Project and Carlsbad Energy Center. These are two of the newest NG power stations in the state. I spoke with him this evening and he said NEITHER of these stations had any sort of “filters” for their emissions, and that they only burn the NG once. He said that of course household appliances burned “cleaner,” because they are right in the house with you. The only real emissions treatment at plants might be exhaust stacks that have a fine water mist sprayed inside them to prevent heavier emissions from escaping (but that’s it). He said that both plants are carefully monitored by their respective local Air Quality Control Districts because of the amount of emissions they produce. ALSO: At least 16 of the NG plants in California are in excess of 50 years old, and have received little or no upgrades. This means that their emissions technology is at least as stone-aged as the Morro Bay Power Plant was. Do your research sir. Actually, never-mind…..I did it for you……..

An crafty investigation technique is to speculate with bad info so that some sanctimonious jerk like me gives you the correct info. MBPP Units 3 & 4 were not stone-age emission technology. In 1995 MBPP units 3 & 4 had new combusters installed to reduce to <65ppm NOX (so did Moss Landing U-6 & 7). In 1998-1999 MBPP U-3 & 4 received new NOX scrubber systems called Selective catalytic reduction (SCR) powered by two new 230/4kV 35MVA transformer bank. This was to meet the year 2000 requirement of <10ppm NOX. These retrofits were done about 1 1/2 years before deregulation and divesture of Morro Bay and Moss Landing to Duke. Duke sold to Dynergy and they ran Units 3 & 4 in the last couple years mostly at 50% load with lucrative rolling reserve contracts and spot market opportunism. It was rumored that Duke & Dynergy both used the NOX credits from Morro Bay Units 3 & 4 when they weren’t online to offset NOX units at Moss Landing 6 & 7. The new low profile Moss Units 1 & 2 on Dolan Rd were more efficient boilers and met requirements from what I remember.

In Los Padres, new transmission voltage requirements O-23 meant operators needed to hold 234kV at Morro Bay to meet the addition of 110MWs of potential double unit trip of Diablo and this also assisted voltage in the southern 115kv loop that goes through Sisquoc, Santa Ynez, Buellton…MBPP U-1 & 2 were not retrofited because their main bank transformers were already on the highest no-load tap and everytime Units 1 & 2 came on line from that point forward the running Unit 3 or 4 had to drop 230kV bus voltage so that Units 1 or 2 could parallel.

Just wait for the electric bill this summer. Start sweating now cuz air conditioning will become an expensive luxury again. Buy a smaller and efficient new fridge yesterday or keep storing that food nobody eats in that big fridge powered by that expensive electricity. Then there is the keep warm season, again the gas will go up and the electric heaters your stuck with will make you think about a smaller house.

Wait a minute. The people of SLO didn’t elect these officials to look to Berkeley for their guidance. So, why does a city attorney look to push an agenda like climate change as part of their job? This is a lawsuit waiting to happen. The complete ignorance of the SLO council and attorney continues to amaze me. There are plenty of more pressing and immediate issues they should be addressing. I’ll continue as I have for the last 20 years, to never spend a penny in a city that isn’t worthy of my time or money. Such foolishness.

It’s not restricting, it’s choosing. There’s a big difference. I thought “libs” were all about freedom of choice. Oh wait, that’s selective at best when standing without principles.

“freedom of choice” Sure I was in Paso yesterday, fine place.

that’s selective at best when standing without principles.”

I would not know what that’s like, I have always had principles.

Christine Dietrick is simply a product of the organizational culture that Katie Lichtig put in place. Risk-averse, and unwilling or even incapable of telling the Council that their ideas are not feasible. She mirrors what the Council does reflexively, even autonomically at this point. If tomorrow the Council changed its mind and pushed an opposite policy, she would swivel immediately and champion that position too. It’s like Stockholm Syndrome, but with a sweet, sweet paycheck.

When are these people going to look around them.

First off, there are so many other important things in Slo for the city attorney to be disappointed with.

Secondly, do people really want “clean energy”? Morro bay is now battling the placing of wind energy 25 miles off the coast.

Thirdly Morro bay is fighting the storage of “clean energy” in a planned battery storage sight.

Fourthly Diablo canyon has a second life because all the dreamers forgot that once the dream ends, reality sets in and now the adults have to figure that the rubber hits the road at some point

A person has to be incredibly stupid to not know that Natural Gas is clean energy. Following in the footsteps of Berserkely is why its called SLO-town.

A person would have to be uneducated not to know natural gas is the cleanest fossil fuel, not clean energy, cleaner than other fossil fuels.

You see when you burn things the material does not magically disappear it changes form.

Stay in school kids.

Maybe some should return to school.

 When we are self-aware we are able to recognize our strengths and weaknesses.

Good job!

I stand in my strengths and continue to work on my weaknesses. Thanks.

The city of SLO should try that instead always growing weaker in their thoughts and direction they’re taking the city.

Now the SLO City Council should focus on far more important issues–drugs, homelessness, crime, business development, etc.

You are supposed to complain about the parking too, didn’t you get the memo?